Joe Pavelka

Recreation Management, Adventurer and Leisure Expert

Dr. Joe Pavelka has 30 years of experience as a practitioner, researcher, educator, speaker, and author. He is an expert on the subjects of recreation management, sustainable tourism and ecotourism. Joe brings a world of experience to every speaking engagement to create an exciting and unique presentation.

Dr. Joe Pavelka has been providing workshops and keynote presentations for organizations throughout Canada. Pavelka has a great reputation for providing insightful, dynamic and entertaining keynotes and workshops. Joe Pavelka has been conducting keynote presentations since 2000 for both large and small gatherings. Dr. Pavelka is renowned and acclaimed for his speaking energy, enthusiasm, humour and insight. As a result, Joe brings his entire eclectic background into every presentation and one can be sure that no two presentations will be alike as he researches and tailors each presentation for every group.

Joe Pavelka’s background includes professional and academic work in the arts, outdoor adventure, business and international travel. Pavelka is a vivid interpreter of the world around us. Joe Pavelka is very easy to understand and his presentations are intriguing for audience members. Dr. Pavelka is an authentic and authoritative presenter on multiple topics. He can educate and inspire while using humour and relevant overheads to help illustrate his points.

Joe Pavelka has multiple dimensions as a result of his passions, education and profession. He is a founding member of the Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership program at Mount Royal University. He is the founder of Splat Designs Ltd., a sportswear company. Furthermore, Joe is the founder and President of Planvision Consulting Ltd. Joe Pavelka has produced several award-winning films including Canoes for Peru which has played in eighteen film festivals on four continents and won six awards. Another film, Life Along the Trail, is scheduled for release in 2017.

Joe Pavelka is the author of two books: Ned: The Story of Bear Six Nine Three (children’s book), and It’s Not About Time: Rediscovering Leisure in a Changing World.

It’s Not About Time addresses leisure, freedom and choice in everyday life. The struggle for leisure, in our fast and harried world, is one of the most important issues we face today. In It’s Not About Time, Joe begins with the idea of leisure being much broader than simple free time; it’s about freedom and creativity. It moves the reader to an understanding of the factors that influence leisure and closes with dynamic ideas on how to find leisure in a very calm and centered way. It also introduces and explains the idea of ‘seamless living.’ Seamless living is a popular mean to understand how we can adapt to the pressures of daily living and live life to the fullest. It’s Not About Time is currently in its second printing.

Joe is currently working on his next book Whatever happened to Leisure?  This book takes an insightful and practical look at how we live our lives today in light of lightning paced technology and economics.

Joe invests considerable time in the outdoors. As a result of his passion, Joe has lead canoe sea kayak or hiking trips in many great places around the world. Some locations include: All of Canada including the Northwest Territories and Belize, Chile, Spain, Peru, Bolivia and Mexico. Joe recently made some headlines by bringing a group of group of Mount Royal University students to canoe the Alto Madre de Dios River in the Peruvian Amazon.

Joe has taught at the post-secondary level since 1996. First as a part-time instructor at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Communication and Culture and later, and through to the present, at the Haskayne Business School of the University of Calgary teaching a variety of tourism management courses. Joe is Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Education and Recreation Studies and Program Coordinator for the Bachelors of Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership at Mount Royal University. Joe Pavelka has a PH. D in Geography from the University of Calgary, a Masters of Arts in Recreation Administration, University of Alberta, a Bachelor of Arts in Geography, Lakehead University and an Honour’s Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation, Lakehead University.

Topic Presentations

Work is rapidly changing, bringing us into the future and past. Economists have explained what the new world of AI and the second tech revolution is likely to bring. What does this mean to us, our jobs, and our quality of life. This session makes sense of current dialogue around work and free time, placing it squarely into our lives and our foreseeable future. Travel, and leisure represents the largest industry sector on the planet. There is little doubt we are living in a new leisure society, though not the one we expected previously with too much free time and with no responsibilities. Today's leisure is rooted in the lifestyle, identity, consumption and lifestyle politics. Joe will explain what this means for you and how to prepare for what the future has in store for you and your how you will spend time outside of your work.


Joe draws from his years' experience as a university educator and consultant to bring out simple and practical ways to incorporate what has been learned back into the every day work and home lives of the attendees. Joe uses innovation and leadership solutions to support participants as they depart back home to their every day lives. This presentation is about keeping the momentum alive and how to capitalize on new relationships and learning from the recent event. Joe weaves insight and humour into this session to provide your audience with a desire to grow and system to implement the what they have learned throughout the conference or day.

North American public recreation is experiencing an identity crisis. Today's face paced and ever changing working environment has public recreation impacted by the fast-growing commercial leisure sector. Public recreation agencies are told to be innovative while maintaining core values and services. Budgets are stagnant and the needs of vocal community groups are struggling to stay relevant. Joe presents the current landscape of demands facing public recreation programs and developments. He will provide practical solutions and make aware all the options to create new strategies to address Canadian public recreation current and future challenges.

The value of this presentation is that it will allow your agency to determine what is beneficial to each individual and program in the midst of modern change. Joe will tailor his presentaiton to each organization and agency to make sure that your team can focus on what they need to do in the foreseeable future.

This presentation will open your audience’s eyes and minds. It will smash pre-conceived notions about free time and leisure. Balancing Home and Work offers a different perspective to not only survive our fast-paced world, but also thrive in it. It will be based on Joe best-selling book, It’s Not About Time. This presentation is suited for any audience. It provides valuable insights into what we do and why we certain things on a daily basis. The answers and secrets to Balancing Home and Work life will surprise you. It is seamless living - a dynamic solution to achieving serenity. It’s within everyone’s reach; it’s just matter of identifying it and grasping it.

 This has been a passion of Joe's for the past 20 years and his keynote streams take a wide look at sustainable tourism and ecotourism in North America, Latin America and elsewhere to highlight where we have been and where we are likely to go. The session brings together geopolitical understanding with market intelligence, and human motivation to offer compelling statements of the challenges and opportunities nature and sustainable tourism faces in the next decade. This session works very well with tourism, leisure, recreation, sustainable tourism, economic development, and natural resource based conferences and streams.

Joe references his multi-aware winning short film that is full of leadership lessons as he brought 19 canoes with 15 university students, 4 assistants and a film crew to the Amazon for the Canoes for Peru project. The project was and still continues to be focused on bringing canoes to the amazon and into the jungle to reintroduce canoeing to local communities. Joe and the crew were constantly tested during their expeditions and learned how leadership, teamwork, self awareness, community and the power of youth become important roles for any desired goal. Joe always uses large amounts of humour and does not shy away from his own pitfalls and mistakes.

Joe has spent around 35 years of his life traveling the world and back country only to realize that he is not very good at it. Joe has used his experiences to better understand risks and rewards, authenticity as a foreigner, safety as a traveler and how and when to travel as an adventurist. Joe's will offer practical solutions to how traveling has positively impacted him to gain more clarity for his life goals, how to pursue those goals and overcome any challenges along the way.



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It's Not About Time!

emember the leisure predictions of the 1960s? By now we were supposed to be living a life of shorter work weeks, secure jobs, virtually no housework and a lot of free time. What happened? Most of us now can't even remember what free time feels like. How did we change from a leisure-focused society to one of the most time-stressed populations in the world? The future of leisure in North America is as rosy or dreary as we want to make it because it hinges on some tough decisions that each of us has to make. This book challenges us to rethink leisure, but in simple, practical terms that are meaningful in daily life. It enlightens us on the range of everyday factors that impact our ability to experience leisure. Finally, it empowers us to negotiate our own leisure path, both now and in the future.

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